2007. It was a whole different world. One before the proliferation of social media and the trend of the ending fairy on music shows. Much has changed, yet Girls Generation is back to prove that they’re still here, and still forever one. Debuting fifteen years ago, So Nyeo Shi Dae are now considered veterans of the industry. In fact, it’s quite remarkable that they’ve all managed to come together to release new music. SONE’s, Girls Generations fans, had long believed that the milestone date might pass with only an acknowledgment from the current members. Instead, the group has released a full-length album, complete with teasers and a fan meeting later this month.

Heading up this special release is the title track, ‘Forever 1’. Treated as more of a gift for fans than an attempt at climbing the charts, ‘Forever 1′ does an excellent job of summoning heaps of nostalgia. It’s anthemic, a rallying cry to fans and the members themselves. The energy starts high and continues right through from verse to the chorus, carried by a strong dance beat and the girls’ iconic voices. In fact, we hear every single member take a line in the chorus for once. Perhaps the most striking string of notes happens within the first few seconds of the song, however. Fans familiar with Girls’ Generations’ debut hit, ‘Into the New World’, will likely recognise the familiar melody here, turning up the nostalgia factor another notch.

As for the music video, there’s an equally celebratory mood in the accompanying music video. Glamorous individual shots show Taeyeon, Tiffany, Sunny, Yoona, Yuri, Sooyoung, Hyoyeon, and Seohyun all in various aspects of celebrity life. From taking centre stage with the mic, to being a DJ at the decks, to acting in front of a cartoon monster, each scene has a lot of character. They suit the career paths or styles that each member has taken beyond their identity in Girl’s Generation.

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There are also some really nice allusions to past videos in the group’s catalogue too. Although they aren’t exact replicas, the street set brings to mind the brightly coloured ‘I Got a Boy’ MV, now pictured at nighttime. It feels symbolic, as though the lights have gone down on that particular time in their career. One of the final scenes also shows the girls in a dark room, confetti falling around them against a black background. The slow motion brings the whole shot back to the petal scene in ‘The Boys’. This time, however, the girls are jumping in celebration.

It’s a monument perhaps to how far they’ve come that every single member makes an impact, visually and sonically. More importantly, that they were able to come together for their 15th anniversary speaks volumes on Girl’s Generation’s staying power. Many fans were introduced to k-pop by these girls. Despite bumps along the road, there is still an immense amount of love and respect held for them. In the industry, they are legends. But to fans, they are old friends. And that’s who ‘Forever 1’ is for. Long may the friendship continue.

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